Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Our House, Our Home--For two more weeks!

Thank you so much for praying with us!

We had an exciting day today, with three possible renters visiting our house, and one renter even agreeing to pay two weeks before moving in (not very common here) so that we wouldn't have to move twice.  But still the plans weren't working out quite right, so that we weren't sure if we were going to be able to peacefully stay here.

Then at about 8pm, in a final surprising gift from God, the landlord said we can stay for two extra weeks, and we don't even need to do anything!  God has answered our prayers in a most gracious way!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Our House, Our Home--Until Saturday?

We walked into a house as newlyweds four years ago. 
We went to the United States and returned to the same house a year and a half ago.
We brought our first daughter home to this house nine and a half months ago.
What was a house has now become a home.

The prayer we sing as a family:
Lord, you are our true hope, give us a hunger to see your kingdom come. That leads to increasing times of worship, listening, supplication.  Our light, guide our prayers by your spirit. Make us bold in faith and humble as living sacrifices.  Holy God, may we be one as you are one, may all who enter our home, know you father and Son, and Holy Spirit, in all your glory! In Jesus name, Amen. 

We have seen children confess Christ as Lord, joined couples in kneeling to recommit their lives and marriage to Jesus, watched our two girls bond and grow beautifully, welcomed hundreds of guests, danced on our date nights, cried with neighbors at the pain they've walked through, and built a life together in this home.

We have been preparing to move on the 14th of May, but despite attempts to find alternate arrangements, have just been asked to move by the end of April (Saturday).  As far as we know, there are no new tenants ready to move in. It grieves me. We want peace with our landlord, and want to honour God as we leave.  Please pray for this situation.  I wanted very much to create a restful place in the next three weeks before we leave so we don't arrive in our new home exhausted.  We can't move into the new house until the 14th because the previous tenants are still there until the 11th. Thank you for joining us in prayer as we transition from this established home to a new house, and for peace in the unexpected.

Pray for:
  • Good relationship with the landlord 
  • God will not allow us to become bitter and hurt our testimony, but give us deep love for everyone involved
  • That God will provide a resolution to the conflict in: 
    • providing a tenant willing to pay the upcoming year's rent or
    • changing the heart of the landlord or
    • something only God can imagine! 
  • A joyful, meaningful, uplifting time as we pack and seek closure as a family

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Climb and a Retreat!

Here we are at the beginning of a hike with our family, which on this beautiful day included Zach's two sisters, Susannah and Kirsten!

The Yoders in Nigeria have been on a climb, as all of us are.  We are striving to know God, know his will, draw closer to him, meet everyone's expectations, eat well, sleep enough, keep water in the tanks and ice in the freezer, treasure our time with Daso, and keep a diaper ahead of Mariama. The rocks we're climbing sometimes chip away under our feet, and we wonder where our foot will catch so we can continue the climb.  We have been encouraged by the presence of Susannah and Kirsten to keep climbing and have joy along the way.  They remind us of those who love us, and of parts of ourselves we have missed.  Tears of laughter have been abundant.  They brought treats (like cheese and Reeses), and they brought love from home.

Kirsten was determined to find a way up the rocky hill.  Daso, Mariama, and myself climbed smaller hills.

Zach thought going under the rock might be easier.  He decided maybe they should go over.
At the top, the three climbers ate a "Cliff bar" overlooking a lake. (We were busy setting up the picnic blanket down below for our lunch.)

We will continue our climb next week, but tomorrow we go to our annual retreat!

Please pray for us, that we will truly be refreshed.  I, Christy, feel behind on feeling, thinking, reflecting, and all things...steadying. Like on our climb together, I have come to rocks that I cannot climb.  I have less time, less energy, and more responsibility.  I need Jesus. At the girls retreat on Monday, every girl was presented with the picture that represented their relationship with God and asked, "Do you love God so much, that you will go and be with him every day so he can tell you how much he loves you?" Susannah then came from behind and gave me my picture.  The picture of hands holding a rose in smeared watercolors that I had painted with my left hand as Mariama was being held with the other. Tears sprung to my eyes, and my heart cry was, "YES!  I love him so much!"  It almost hurt, that aching when you just can't do enough for the ones you love.
We need your prayers as a family, that we will withdraw and be with Jesus, so he can tell us how much he loves us.

Susannah will be leading the children ages 4-13 (31 children) and 4 helpers.  Kirsten will be with the 3 and under.  I will be telling the story in the lessons.  Pray for Susannah, as she has not had much time to prepare (2 days).  Pray for Kirsten and Mariama (an all the other babies) that they will feel safe and treasured. Please pray for the Lord to speak to our children, and give Susannah and Kirsten all she needs to share the gospel with these missionary children.  The children are from Nigeria, Ireland, England, Canada, America, and Switzerland. Pray that they will care well for each other and grow to love Jesus more. Pray that they will know they are loved by the adults helping and by Jesus.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Beautiful Me Retreat

The girls write why they want to be in relationship with God.

Esther looked at me with her eyes shining after choosing the picture that represented her relationship with God, two hands carefully cradling a rose.  "God holds me like this, and he's making me beautiful like this flower."  What a statement of trust in her Father's love!  

Girls color the picture of Jesus embracing a little girl. "God loves me even when I'm not perfect," Maryanne explained when she was asked why she liked the picture.

Celebrating the morning with dancing!

Time alone with God, learning to pray in different ways, doing devotions together, exercising together in the morning, the garden that surrounded the beautiful retreat center, and a treasure hunt to find their "You Are Beautiful" t-shirts were all highlights of this program.  Now it is time to put into practice what we learned. These girls and their mothers have so many challenges facing them, and our prayer is that God will draw them and they will respond.  That they will find him as they seek him. 

Thank you for praying for:
Charity and her mother Esther
Nanret, Ladyen and their mother Mary
Patience and her mother Hanatu
Marianne and her older sister Mary Jane

Friday, April 8, 2016

Close Up "Beautiful Me" Retreat

Why only this picture to represent the 4 hours these young ladies worked on Thursday morning digging and planting flowers, grapevines, and seeds?  Because everyone else has gone to bed and I don't know where their pictures are! Why were they doing this manual labor? "Digging holes builds character" of course!

AND...helps them raise the money to go to the retreat that starts on Sunday evening and goes until Monday evening.  When I asked the second girl pictured here, Gloria, what she wanted to learn in the "Beautiful Me" program for mothers and daughters, she said, "I want to learn about how to have a good relationship with God."  So, along with 4 other women, we have designed a retreat to help them on that journey.

Please pray for this event!

  • That both the mothers and daughters will come! 
  • That there will be reconciliation where relationships are broken
  • That they will learn new ways to connect with Jesus! 
  • That the Spirit of God will convict, restore, draw, and heal.
  • That in our preparation meeting on Saturday, we will have unity and clarity of direction
  • For the other Auntie's involved: Margaret, Mary Jane, Susannah, Kirstin, and myself, that we would be healthy, and listen well to the guidance of the Father! 
  • That joy will be abundant! 
  • That the lessons, games, skits, and quiet times in the lovely retreat center will linger and help them on their journey toward knowing and loving God more! 
NOTE:  Zach's sisters are here, and they've taken a LOT of good pictures.  I'll get some of those up soon. 

Go Away!

T here were children. Always so many children. Our children are a magnet for other children and so everywhere we go, they follow us giggling...